You’re not alone if you’ve heard the rumor that girls are easier and faster to potty train than boys. As with all rumors, there may be some truth to this yet what really matters is your girl’s unique development, personality and readiness to learn a new skill.Some boys may take longer on their potty learning journey. Some girls will take longer than boys the same age. The best way to potty train a girl is not a one-size-fits-all approach. With our expert advice, preparation guide and potty training tips, you’ll be able to work together with your daughter to make the process successful.
What Experts Say About When to Start Potty Training Girls
Before you start potty training, it’s important to set the right expectations. Parenting expert Michelle LaRowe — an author, professional nanny and editor in chief of eNannySource.com — says she’s found girls are often ready to train earlier because girls tend to be more advanced in physical and language development. These are the skills that with potty training success. However, don’t assume it will happen overnight. The secret to success is matching your potty training method to your toddler girl’s personality.Training is the easiest when your child is ready and willing to learn. Not all girls progress faster than boys of the same age. Remember, with all children, potty training takes lots of patience and positive encouragement. So, breathe in, exhale and buckle up for a fun ride!
How to Start Potty Training a Girl: Prepare
- Start with some Pull-Ups® training pants! They look and fit more like underwear, giving your child the independence to slide their pants on and off while also providing consistency for any learning style.
- Give her a chance to pick out a few pairs of underwear with the styles and colors that she likes. You could purchase them now and your daughter can set them aside for when she’s ready to start wearing them.
- Grab a resource. If your previous online research and conversations with people you trust haven’t been enough to make you to feel confident in your approach, consider picking up a book on potty training methods. Keep your mind open to creativity.
- Celebrate! Round out your purchases with a treat or two in honor of the occasion.
- Bathroom-only books and toys. Having specific items that can only be used or read in the bathroom will help motivate your sweet girl to try and try again to use the potty. This also makes keeping things clean easier for you.
- Potty training treasure chest supplies. Consider creating a treasure chest to store her bathroom play items and any rewards like stickers, temporary tattoos or tiny toys. The treasure chest will keep her entertained while she’s sitting on the potty waiting for the magic to happen.
Steps to create a treasure chest box:
Step 1: Start with an empty box (a shoebox or small container) and cover it with adhesive shelf paper (the more eye-catching, the better).
Step 2: Personalize the treasure chest with your child’s name and/or some decorative stickers.
Step 3: Fill it with several things she can use while she’s sitting on the potty (stickers, toys, coloring books).
Step 4: Include special treats and treasures (a special stuffy, soft plush blanket for snuggling (it will feel like she’s sitting there so long! to her) to reward a job well done. Use all of the colors she enjoys.Voila! You have a treasure chest that’s personalized for your special little girl.
Potty Training Tips for Girls
How your girl potty trains will be unique for your family. Potty training is one of those rites of passage for both toddlers and parents that is different for every family.
Use these tips along the journey to make potty training as easy as possible for both you and your little girl:
- Buy a small potty and place it in a convenient location – easy access is the key to placement. Think of rooms where your child spends time reading or playing, such as in the corner of a kitchen or her playroom.
- Consider using a smaller toddler seat that rests on top of the adult seat—this allows her to comfortably sit without fear of falling into a regular toilet. Make adding it to the adult seat a grand gesture—say fun things like, “Your throne, your Majesty!” Or whatever makes her relax and giggle.
- Start each session with letting her pick out her distractors from the treasure chest, and then either sing songs or set a timer that lets your child know this isn’t going to go on forever—and it can be a fun game.
- Then it’s time to suds up! Teach her to wash her hands with soap after a trip to the potty. Make this habit part of the routine every time whether she uses the potty for its purpose or not. Little kids especially love foam hand soaps in fun colors and scents.
- Don’t rush nighttime potty training. Being able to sleep through the night without an accident takes time. Since night training is most often dependent on your child’s physical development, it can be completely different from training during the day. In the meantime, use Pull-Ups® Night*Time training pants for extra absorbency.
- Create a sticker chart and set attainable prizes as rewards for going on the potty. As you and your toddler get started on your training adventure, print out a customizable Minnie Mouse sticker chart to help keep track of her goals. Add some extra fun to your adventure by filling out the chart together. Simply start by letting your daughter color her chart. Then write the training moments you’d like to highlight and put a sticker on together for every milestone she achieves! She will look forward to making progress.
- Setbacks are a normal part of the journey of potty training. It seems like some kids seem to stay stuck in this “kinda sorta potty trained” phase forever. Never punish them for an “accident,” say “oops! Even adults may have accidents sometimes,” and stay encouraging.
- Regression happens, so have some patience and enjoy this important learning journey together with her.
By Lakisa Ballard, MSN, RN, C-EFM, RNC-OB
Lakisa Ballard, MSN, RN, C-EFM, RNC-OB, is a Clinical Practice Specialist in Maryland. The information of this article has been prepared by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.